The Great Works Regional Land Trust serves five communities in southern Maine and strives to preserve the region’s natural, historic, scenic, and recreational resources. To most effectively work with local entities to protect the most important resources, the land trust wanted to engage its membership, the public, and key local entities to develop a long-term protection strategy.
By surveying and interviewing 179 members, citizens, and organizations, the Great Works Regional Land Trust was able to identify three key resource types important for preservation: forest, agriculture, and water. A blend of locally derived and nationally available geospatial data sets were used with the Habitat Priority Planner tool. Interacting with the Habitat Priority Planner allowed land trust members to visualize where key resources were prevalent and focus in on areas for its strategic conservation plan.
These analyses and visualizations were an integral part of finalizing a strategic conservation plan. The Great Works Regional Land Trust aims to protect an additional 10,000 acres of forest, agricultural lands, and wetlands in its service area by 2025. The components of this plan have been integrated into other regional and state efforts and have provided a footing to apply for funding to help reach regional conservation goals.